PALAPYE: The Minister of Basic Education, Bagalatia Arone blatantly directed the rot at his ministry to his predecessors saying the current regime was working around the clock to tidy up the mess.
He said as a son or daughter, it was important that as one inherited, one should introspect to ensure one’s parents or grandparents were towing the line. He said some decisions could have been important at their time, but it was prudent that they were revised to suit the present.
Arone was speaking when officially opening the Botswana Sector of Educators Union (BOSETU) policy conference that was held at Majestic Five Hotel recently. The minister said, however, the new regime under the leadership of President Mokgweetsi Masisi is introspecting and will consequently ring desired changes that represent the views of the nation.
He said the President was inclined to promote dialogue and realign programmes to ensure they responded to the needs of the economy.
He said Masisi has directed each and every ministry to ensure that the consultative processes are cast as wide as possible and that every minister set up independent advisors of wholly representative citizens to achieving a true participatory democracy.
“This alone shows a commitment of the President who wants to march with this nation together in taking this country forward,” he said.
He said when he inherited the ministry, he found the structures had collapsed. He said amongst others, he found that masses of teachers have been stuck in one band for a long time and yet there were no answers as to why they had not progressed.
He said the lack of progression has affected the entry level and the quality of education in the country. He said currently there were about 8,000 unemployed trained teachers roaming the streets. “By pushing everyone to the band they belong, we could open close to 4,000 places of entry level for the unemployed teachers,” he said.
Arone’s speech was in
Maforaga, also a former teacher, compared the current standard of education to that of the colonial era. He said the current state of education was pathetic because the government failed to act on countless strategies that were designed to improve.
“The ministry is sharp in identifying problems and it is also very sharp in coming up with proper solutions to address such problems but the reports are shelved away. Where is the 1994 Kedikilwe report?” he quipped, noting that the report carried recommendations that would have improved teaching.
He said the report advocated for a ratio of one teacher to 30 students amongst others. He said today classes are inflated at ratios of one to 75. He said it is an open secret that there is an acute shortage of teachers in the country and yet thousands of qualified teachers are idling the streets without employment and the ministry is doing a little to reconcile the predicament.
Maforaga advised the government to recognise teachers as the drivers of the transformation of the economy. He called the ministry to pay teachers for extracurricular activities. He said the government has oppressed the efforts of teachers to volunteer in those activities because of lack of funds.
Maforaga also called to the teachers to find a common ground and work towards finding solutions to improving the education system. “If the ministry and the teachers are going to be involved in long disputes without redress, let us remember that is the vegetation that will suffer,” he said.